Tag Archives: Jonathan Stroud

This week’s book talks 10/29-11/2

2 Nov

Monday

Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Kathryn Harkup

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Tuesday

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1)  by Jonathan Stroud

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Wednesday

Thornhill  by Pam Smy

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Thursday

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi

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Friday

Steal This Country: A Handbook for Resistance, Persistence, and Fixing Almost Everything by Alexandra Styron

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This week’s booktalks 10/2-6

6 Oct

It was series week in my classroom. All my booktalks were about the first book in a series I thought my students might enjoy.

MONDAY I talked about Spy School by Stuart Gibbs. In addition to talking about that series, I also shared some of his other series.

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TUESDAY, I went a little more serious with Silverwing  by Kenneth Oppel.

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WEDNESDAY, I went for spooky with Jonathan Stroud’s first Lockwood & Co. book – The Screaming Staircase.

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THURSDAY,  I veered into the history of World War I and talked about Steampunk by talking about Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.

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And, finally, on FRIDAY, I booktalked L. A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack,  the first book in a series I hold very dear.

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A very satisfying end

25 Sep

Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote a post about the fourth Lockwood & Co. book. At the end I refer to an unnamed fifth book.

Well, this weekend, I finished the fifth book,  and with it, the series has truly come to an end. Fortunately, it was a very satisfying end.

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Author’s website: After their recent escapades, Lockwood & Co. deserve a well-earned rest  . . . so naturally they decide to break into the country’s most heavily-guarded tomb.

What they discover there changes everything.

So begins a desperate battle to uncover the truth behind the epidemic of ghosts. It’s a battle that will force the team to journey to the Other Side, bring them face to face with hideous phantoms – and pit them against the most terrifying enemy they have ever known.

Will everyone make it out alive?

As much as I like the US cover, I must show you this UK cover. I

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Although Lucy is the narrator and Lockwood the leader, I think George and the Skull might be my favorites in this book. Their characters are more fleshed out in book 5 than in any of the previous four books, and  Skull’s humor provides a nice counterpoint to the scary ghost stuff.

I am sad to see this series end. Stroud leaves things open enough that more books could come, but I imagine he already has something new series in mind.

 

 

Book 4: Staying Strong

23 Oct

When I picked it up, I thought, sadly, that The Creeping Shadow  was the fourth and last book in

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Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood and Co. series.

Publisher’s Summary: After leaving Lockwood & Co. at the end of The Hollow Boy, Lucy is a freelance operative, hiring herself out to agencies that value her ever-improving skills. One day she is pleasantly surprised by a visit from Lockwood, who tells her he needs a good Listener for a tough assignment. Penelope Fittes, the leader of the giant Fittes Agency wants them–and only them–to locate and remove the Source for the legendary Brixton Cannibal. They succeed in their very dangerous task, but tensions remain high between Lucy and the other agents. Even the skull in the jar talks to her like a jilted lover. What will it take to reunite the team? Black marketeers, an informant ghost, a Spirit Cape that transports the wearer, and mysteries involving Steve Rotwell and Penelope Fittes just may do the trick. But, in a shocking cliffhanger ending, the team learns that someone has been manipulating them all along. . . .

The story line remains strong, and minor characters, especially Holly and George, become more developed. The skull, whose identity I hope to have revealed, is kidnapped. Lucy is drawn back into the fold of Lockwood and Co. And, although the manipulator is who I suspected it would be, the manipulation was not managed the way I had anticipated.

According to Goodreads, the untitled  fifth book is due out sometime in 2017.

This week’s book talks

21 Oct

At the beginning of the year, I committed to giving my students a book talk every day. I had a good personal library. As part of a district-wide language arts initiative, we were given large classroom libraries this year as well as a way to catalogue and check the books out.Book talking has let me tell about many of the books in both libraries.

This week, I book talked:

 

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A sinister problem has arisen in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see — and eradicate — these supernatural foes. Many different psychic detection agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.

In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co., a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague George are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?

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Josh and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood. He’s got mad beats too, beats that tell his family’s story in verse. But both brothers must come to grips with growing up, on and off the court, as they realize breaking the rules can come at a terrible price, resulting in a game-changer for their entire family.

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My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece.

Well, some of her does.
A collarbone, two ribs, a bit of skull, and a little toe.

To ten-year-old Jamie, his family has fallen apart because of the loss of someone he barely remembers: his sister Rose, who died five years ago in a terrorist bombing. To his father, life is impossible to make sense of when he lives in a world that could so cruelly take away a ten-year-old girl. To Rose’s surviving fifteen year old twin, Jas, everyday she lives in Rose’s ever present shadow, forever feeling the loss like a limb, but unable to be seen for herself alone.

Told with warmth and humor, this powerful novel is a sophisticated take on one family’s struggle to make sense of the loss that’s torn them apart… and their discovery of what it means to stay together.

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When 12-year-old Gratuity “Tip” Tucci is assigned to write five pages on the true meaning of Smekday for the National Time Capsule contest, she’s not sure where to begin. How about when her mom started telling everyone about the messages aliens were sending through a mole on the back of her neck? Maybe on Christmas Eve, when huge, bizarre spaceships descended on Earth and the Boov abducted her mother? Or when the Boov declared Earth a colony, renamed it Smekland (in honor of glorious Captain Smek), and forced all Americans to relocate to Florida via rocketpod?

In any case, Tip’s story is much, much bigger than the assignment. It involves her unlikely friendship with a renegade Boov mechanic named J.Lo.; a futile journey south to find Tip’s mother at the Happy Mouse Kingdom; a cross-country road trip in a hovercar; and an outrageous plan to save Earth from yet another alien invasion.

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For thirteen years, Ben Tomlin was an only child. But all that changes when his mother brings home Zan — an eight-day-old chimpanzee.

Ben’s father, a renowned behavioral scientist, has uprooted the family to pursue his latest research project: a high-profile experiment to determine whether chimpanzees can acquire advanced language skills. Ben’s parents tell him to treat Zan like a little brother. Ben reluctantly agrees. At least now he’s not the only one his father’s going to scrutinize.

It isn’t long before Ben is Zan’s favorite, and Ben starts to see Zan as more than just an experiment. His father disagrees. To him, Zan is only a specimen, no more, no less. And this is going to have consequences. Soon Ben is forced to make a critical choice between what he is told to believe and what he knows to be true — between obeying his father or protecting his brother from an unimaginable fate.

Half Brother isn’t just a story about a boy and a chimp. It’s about the way families are made, the way humanity is judged, the way easy choices become hard ones, and how you can’t always do right by the people and animals you love. In the hands of master storyteller Kenneth Oppel, it’s a novel you won’t soon forget.

 

 

The third book

8 Feb

I’m about 2/3 of the way through the third book in Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood and Co. series,  The Hollow Boy.

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Although these are books about ghosts, they aren’t really scary, which is why I can read them. The Hollow Boy  gets into much more character development and moves Lucy, our narrator, Lockwood & George beyond the sort of stereotypical Harry Potter trio trope. The humor is still there. Lucy is testing her ability to talk to ghosts, we learn more about Lockwood’s past and George gets a little more depth. The problem of “The Problem” isn’t solved yet, so we can look forward to a fourth book.

Publisher’s Summary: As a massive outbreak of supernatural Visitors baffles Scotland Yard and causes protests throughout London, Lockwood & Co. continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in exterminating spirits. Anthony Lockwood is dashing, George insightful, and Lucy dynamic, while the skull in the jar utters sardonic advice from the sidelines. There is a new spirit of openness in the team now that Lockwood has shared some of his childhood secrets, and Lucy is feeling more and more as if her true home is at Portland Row. It comes as a great shock, then, when Lockwood and George introduce her to an annoyingly perky and hyper-efficient new assistant, Holly Munro.

Meanwhile, there are reports of many new hauntings, including a house where bloody footprints are appearing, and a department store full of strange sounds and shadowy figures. But ghosts seem to be the least of Lockwood & Co.’s concerns when assassins attack during a carnival in the center of the city. Can the team get past their personal issues to save the day on all fronts, or will bad feelings attract yet more trouble?

If you are looking for a not too scary series for a middle grade reader, I highly recommend Lockwood & Co.

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #4

8 Mar

I read three books for the HUB Challenge this week. The first was  Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud.

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This one reminded me a lot of How to Catch a Bogle,  for a slightly older audience.

Goodreads Summary:For more than fifty years, Great Britain has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Lucy narrates the story and I really like her. In fact, I like her so much I will probably get the next book in the series to see what happened. This is the kind of ghost story I can take: not gory or frightening. It is more about the characters than the haunting.

Then, I read two graphic novels. I really liked  47 Ronin  by Mike Richardson and Stan Sakai which retells the ancient Japanese story. I was so into this that I’ve put two different DVDs on hold at the library that offer movie versions.

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I also read Trillium by Jeff LeMire, which I liked less. I just couldn’t get into the story, though you might.It’s a love story about two souls separated by time & space but who manage to find each other.

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